African refugee families’ perceptions of disability and its impact on involvement with Child Find process
Gitonga, Lucy Wanjiru
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This was a phenomenological investigation focused on understanding social and psychological phenomena of disability and its relationship to the Child Find mandate from the perspectives of the African refugee families (Welman & Kruger, 1999). An examination of African refugee cultural perceptions on disability is significant in understanding how cultural perceptions may impact disability policies. Belief systems, low or high communication context, geographical settings and lived experiences are the essence of appreciating roles that cultural- contexts play in policy implementation (Stone, 2005). Interviews, observations, and collection of artifacts were utilized to examine the following constructs: 1) culture and disability 2) interaction with service providers and case workers; and 3) Child Find identification and referral process of African refugee children with or at risk of disabilities. Data collected focused on three aspects of cultural perceptions towards disability: 1) The role of disability definition and causation 2) an understanding of legal and social support systems for African refugee children with disabilities in United States and 3) interactions between African refugee families, case workers and service providers. This study answered the following question: How do African Refugee Families’ Perceptions of Disability Impact their involvement with Child Find efforts in the United States? Ultimately, through a qualitative approach, data were analyzed on how cultural perceptions towards disability may impact Child Find initiatives of identification, referral and assessments of children from African refugee cultural groups. The findings from the study contributed to the body of knowledge needed in research on the impact of culture on Child Find initiatives of identification, referral and assessments of children within the diverse communities (Robinson & Rosenburg, 2004).